JBRF's April 2022 Newsletter Contents:

  • Daylight Savings & Fear of Harm
  • Wednesday Webinars!: April 20th Community Briefing
  • Fundraising Footnotes: Get Ready to Give!

Daylight Savings & Fear of Harm

Just a few short weeks ago the US Senate passed legislation called the "Sunshine Protection Act". This bill, which was approved unanimously, would make Daylight Savings Time (DST) permanent. While many folks may be rejoicing at the thought of sunlight later in the evenings, families living with Fear of Harm aren't. Responses from parents can be summarized in one word: "Ugh."


If there's one thing that parents know it's that the bi-annual clock shift wreaks havoc on kids with Fear of Harm. Kids lose sleep, their moods fluctuate wildly, they have decreased temperature regulation-- in short, their symptoms flare up with a vengeance.


The clock shifts combine with increased 

weather fluctuations in the spring and fall to be a 1-2-punch on kids with Fear of Harm. Parents report increases in behavior challenges, nightmares, temperature dysregulations, and severe fears in the weeks around 'spring forward' and 'fall back' every year.


Support group facilitator and JBRF Executive Director, Elizabeth Errico, says, "Parents new to our group are often confused as to why their children are suddenly experiencing increased difficulty. Seasoned parents on the other hand sit there nodding their heads, affirming what they're hearing. They remind each other that the clock changes are to blame for the trouble, not our kids."


So, you'd think that parents of kids with Fear of Harm would welcome not having to shift the clocks forward in the spring and then back again in the fall. You'd also think we wouldn't greet the Sunshine Protection Act with a resigned sigh.

Why Not Permanent DST?

You see, parents know something important (scientists know too and have been quietly saying it for years): getting rid of the biannual clock shift is a great idea, but what needs to be permanent is Standard Time, not Daylight Savings. Or, as one Fear of Harm mom said about the recent legislation, "Good Effort. Wrong Direction."


Why? The short answer is that DST isn't good for us. Heather Turgeon and Julie Wright recently reported on this in The Atlantic saying, "The shift raises stress levels and inflammation, shortens our sleep, and increases depression." These effects are difficult for anyone to manage, let alone kids struggling with bipolar disorder and Fear of Harm.


One Fear of Harm mom shared, "The changes in daily sunlight exposure following the shift to DST and its impact on my son's circadian rhythms is so significant that he can be dysregulated for as many as 10-14 days!" But the problem goes even further because while we think we adjust to the time change, our bodies tell a different story. 


You'd think that we'd adapt to the time shift quickly, just as the body would if you flew to a new time zone. How different can switching the clocks for DST be from flying from say, Chicago to New York? The answer is that it's very different. In that new time zone your body adapts because the sun is aligned with the body-clock. Our bodies evolved over eons to respond to the sun, not to the clock. When we shift to DST the clocks no longer align with the sun (it's not overhead at noon anymore) and whether we realize it or not, we don't ever really adjust. There are electro-chemical shifts in our brain triggered by sunrise and sunset which are crucial to keep our sleep patterns regulated. DST's misalignment with the sun causes those shifts to be out of sync, leading to sleep disruptions and decreases in mental and physical wellbeing. 

Another Everyday Issue

The clock changes and debate over making Daylight Savings Time permanent are just one of the multitude of everyday issues that intersect with bipolar and Fear of Harm. As a result, JBRF's outreach and education programs are a truly vital lifeline for families as we help them navigate these daily complications to treatment.


Our spring fundraiser will be starting soon. If you see the value in the research, information, and support we provide to families with bipolar and Fear of Harm, consider a gift to JBRF during our May celebration of Children's Mental Health Awareness Day.


Wednesday Webinars!

Coming Up April 20th

Join JBRF for April's Webinar: A Special Community Briefing, with a Live Q&A!


Wednesday, April 20th,

7:30-8:30pm eastern time


JBRF's Research Director Dr. Demitri Papolos is also one of the acclaimed authors of the book The Bipolar Child. This book is a lifeline for families learning about and coming to terms with their child's bipolar disorder diagnosis.


On April 20th Dr. Papolos will join Executive Director Elizabeth Errico in conversation about childhood bipolar and the ways JBRF strives to serve families in crisis.


They'll discuss current research projects and review how JBRF's education, outreach, and advocacy programs assist families in need.


Fundraising Footnotes

Get Ready to Give!


Children's Mental Health Awareness Day is coming up in May. This means our annual fundraiser in celebration of all the kids living with bipolar disorder and Fear of Harm is right around the corner. 


During the month of May each year we #CelebrateJBRFKids! with a fundraising campaign to support all the programs and services JBRF offers, free of charge, to families living with bipolar and FOH.


JBRF's education, outreach, and advocacy programs are a lifeline to so many families. To ensure equal access to all it's essential that we be able to keep these important services cost-free

But, it's not cost-free to run and maintain our many programs and services. Here's where you can be the hero. Our proud JBRF Family of Donors provide these services to the wide array of families who are in desperate need of help. As one parent recently said, "Thank you to everyone who makes JBRF's services possible!"


Plan your contribution to our 2022 Children's Mental Health Awareness Day Fundraiser, or get a head start and make a contribution today. 


JBRF supports children and families suffering from bipolar disorder and

Fear of Harm through research, education, and outreach.

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